Although the prototype doesn't offer significant savings over wired solar panels for the moment, the artificial leaf concept is still considered inspirational, bringing money and attention to the field of solar fuels, chemists said at a meeting at Imperial College London on 18 May. “When I came into this field, there was nothing close to a wafer you could drop into water and see hydrogen and oxygen bubbling off,” said Philipp Kurz, an inorganic chemist at the University of Kiel in Germany. “The artificial leaf is important in its design and simplicity,” Nocera adds.
This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on May 23, 2012.